CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Margaret Laurence pens ‘The Diviners’

The Story

In the early 1970s Laurence moves to Lakefield, Ont. She also buys a small cabin on the Otonabee River near Peterborough where she writes The Diviners, her most ambitious and deeply autobiographical novel. When asked about the title, Laurence describes her writing process as a form of divining. Like Laurence, protagonist Morag Gunn explores a historical past for the meaning of the present. The book wins her a second Governor General's Award.Yet, at only 48, Laurence declares she has come to the end of the Manawaka series. The Diviners will be her last novel. In subsequent years, she writes several children's books, including The Olden Days Coat and A Christmas Birthday Story, along with the collection of essays Heart of a Stranger, but she does not write another novel.

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Supplement
Broadcast Date: May 19, 1974
Guest: Margaret Laurence
Reporter: Robert Fulford
Duration: 7:55

Did You know?

• The sacred practice of divining, or water dowsing, dates back approximately 7,000 years. Typically, dowsing rods are made of copper, hazel and other branches. Early peoples used divining rods to find water sources, coal and missing objects and people. Although dowsing is regarded as a sacred practice, anyone can do it. The simplest dowsing rod can be created out of wire clothing hangers cut in two L-shaped pieces.


Margaret Laurence: Canada's Divine Writer more